Scotland backs renewable electricity in farmland planning policy
The Scottish government has issued a draft planning policy saying it favours expansion of its renewables-sourced electricity portfolio for any development allowed on the country's best agricultural land.
"Development on prime agricultural land should only be permitted in one of the following [four] limited circumstances," the draft said, including "the generation of energy from a renewable source".
The strategy is a more strongly worded version of Scotland's current planning policy, which states that renewable energy generation on prime quality agricultural land "may be acceptable where restoration proposals will return the land to its former status."
Scotland has set the ambitious target of generating the equivalent of 100% of its power demand from renewable sources by 2020 (see EDEM 30 October 2012). The target requires Scotland to produce the equivalent of 50% of its consumed electricity by 2015.
The Scottish government's most recent update on its progress showed that renewable sources produced 35% of Scotland's total consumption in 2011 - putting the country four percentage points ahead of its interim target for that year.
"We are consulting on a revised Scottish planning policy and are very keen to hear stakeholders' views," a government spokesperson told ICIS.
"We are not proposing any substantial change to the protection afforded to prime quality agricultural land." Katie McQue
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